the flannel that took forever

all snapped up the plaid flannel shirt by bird and bicycle

The lovely and talented Kelly Hogaboom inspired me to make a lovely flannel for my kiddo. When I saw one of her’s (she has made the pattern many times) it reminded me of when I ran around town wearing a giant, quilted plaid logger’s jacket. I wore it until it had holes and literally was falling to pieces. It was a XXL of my father’s when I was only 13, so I was a bit ridiculous. I’d share photos but I really hope that none actually exist!

the sleeves are long in the plaid flannel shirt by bird and bicycle

It was a bit tricky as I was struggling to make the pattern big enough for some growing room, but my little man’s rib cage is gigantic for his small body. His dad is 6’5 and tall and lean, and I am 5’5 short and stocky. I keep really hoping he will be more tall and less wide! So I may have made it a little too big, but he will grow right? He is tucking his hands up in this photo though, it’s not that big! He likes long sleeves.

I have mad plaid matching skills. Here is the under arm to prove it.

plaid matching

He hasn’t taken it off since I put the snaps on. I may make him another one with a lining, which was my original intent, or even add a quilted layer in the middle for some warmth during our chilly days. This vintage pattern has a lovely and easy to construct collar too. I like it!

bird and bicycle logo


cuff and snap and sleeve placket on bird and bicycle's plaid flannel shirt


smiles in flannel plaid shirt

Destination: Kindergarten

I am unsure why I still blog. I don’t enjoy the process like I used to, and I feel the absence of that former joy. So when I finally get around to blogging, there is mixed emotions that result in a more tumultuous experience.

However, with Fall comes school and my son entering public school and kindergarten. Growing like a weed, as they say, has made new pants a necessity. I decided to sew him a small capsule like wardrobe “Destination: Kindergarten” mostly (entirely?) using Ottobre patterns as I prefer too. I started with the need of jeans, and will move onto more fun items this week I hope.

I started with an extensive list of desired patterns and made a second list on the back of my maybe items. One is a fully lined jacket, which I haven’t done before. This is a huge maybe, as I really want to bust through my stash to keep it manageable. All of these fabrics are from stash, which is nice.

My first make was a pattern I have done before, and had to trace the 116cm size. The Charles L. stretch denim jeans. I just love these. This time, I didn’t muck with the pattern at all and it came out just perfect. Sometimes I will adjust the rise or things to attempt to get a better fit, but really these jeans will hopefully last 9 months, from now until next summer. With an adjustable elastic waist, stretch denim, and a mock zipper fly, they are plenty comfortable.

I have forgotten which t-shirt pattern I used, as they have many many different ones. However, this one is a basic t-shirt and I whipped up two. A yellow and black hello kitty print and a really awesome Marine Sea Life knit I bought from Europe (where are the really great children fabrics are from.)

He loves his new clothes of course! The jeans fit great. The red are particularly awesome, with amazing top stitching despite being impossible to tell with matching red thread. The teal pair I went a little crazy on, and added rivets and fun white top stitching. They look great from a distance, but my triple stitch wasn’t lining up correctly. My machine may need a professional to check her out. I have been doing all my own machine maintenance and full cleanings for a couple years. While I love that I can do that, this is the only stitch I can’t get to line up and look right. It could be user error though!

I took a small break and made my husband a new McCalls pattern men’s active wear shirt. The fabric is so soft and so amazing. It is a medium-to-heavy thick wicking knit from the always awesome Seattle Fabrics. It has an almost brushed inside, like a french terry with little loops? It makes it great on the skin, but a mo-fo for top stitching. Seriously. I stitched and picked out a sleeve seam at least 3 times before I gave up and made bindings.

bird and bicycle men's activewear shirt, pattern from mccalls

He seems to like it, and it will do well in the fall when we are biking in cooler temperatures. Next time, I will fiddle with the arms and shoulder connection, and see what I can do about those folds. They seem a bit necessary though, when he stretches up and around they disappear. So I will have to double check.

Last item to report, is the most perfect pair of jeans to date. I have been posting them on instragram because I am so dang proud of these.

Seriously. There may be faults, I may see a few mistakes or where my individual lines don’t meet up perfectly, but these are so polished I would wear them myself. The elastic back waistband isn’t adjustable, though I did add in interior buttonholes so I could add in elastic if I end up needing too. I steamed the heck out of the back elastic after stitching them in and it shrunk up beautifully. The top stitching on the waistband I had to do two times, and you can’t see it because I used dark thread and stitched in the ditch, but I also top stitched the back of the waistband too. The dark stretch denim is gorgeous, I think I got it from Pacific Fabrics or District Fabrics, but I can’t recall anymore. I wish I had more of it!

The gold top stitching thread is my favorite part. Or maybe the lines along the mock zipper. Or maybe the front slash knee patches. Or maybe the back pockets. I love it all!

And most importantly, so does he!

bird and bicycle stretch denim jeans pattern by Ottobre Designs


With temperatures above 75′ I feel like summer is already here! I bought these fabrics intending to make my son a variety of clothes in dark blue and citron. Color doesn’t always speak to me, my own preference being black, grey and denim. However I saw navy and citron in some quilting cotton designs, probably Cotton+Steel, and instantly recognized the beauty.

bird and bicycle boy summer clothes pattern by ottobre designs

This year I was gifted a huge stack of Ottobre Designs magazines, most brand new! I love them! I use these almost exclusively now for children’s patterns. Their sizing is spot on, the designs are great, adding my own seam allowance is also ideal, and I love the simple instructions. It makes sewing a lot easier when you have one page to look at, not multiple illustrations and pages to turn.

Here is the beginning of his summer attire. He is almost 5 years old, and these are a size 116cm. He has some room to grow into them too!

bird and bicycle boy summer clothes pattern by ottobre designs

The stripe navy and white top is simple, and I loved the width of the stripe helping to define easy hem lines. Simplicity itself!

I love the star corduroy, but it is so very thin I fear it will rip after one decent park adventure. Also, the corduroy picks up every piece of lint in my house (which is to say, very many!) and makes it look very dirty after an hour of playing. Cute design, unfortunate textile. Maybe all corduroy’s are like this? I haven’t worn them since the early 90’s (everyone remembers the forest green and maroon corduroys worn overly large right? With body suits?)

My kiddo loved them instantly and asked to wear them right away.

bird and bicycle boy's clothes pattern by ottobre designs

The star rivet on the back pocket was greatly admired, and then he demanded more star rivets and buttons on all his clothes. He has made quite the wish list of clothing items, and I love to indulge. Especially when it also seeks to gratify my own feelings.

Despite loving clothes, he does not like photographs of himself. Indeed he begs me not to be in the photos, but I insist. The joy of being the grownup prevails!

bird and bicycle boy summer clothes pattern by ottobre designs

Further items on his list include a button up with star buttons, a soccer jersey, more pants and, specifically, no shorts. I could muse all day about his preferences, and never get any closer to his truth.

I hope you are all enjoying these warmer days and nights. For now it is almost 8pm, my kid is asleep, and I get to sew again. Ah, the joys of summer.

bird and bicycle boy summer clothes pattern by ottobre designs